Cycling on Private Roads

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mark a.
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Cycling on Private Roads

Postby mark a. » 7 May 2010, 9:41pm

Are there any general rules of whether you can cycle on private roads? I live in Surrey, so there are a fair few around.

I live on common land, so we have to pay for access rights for the car along the (unmade) road, but it's not a problem for people to cycle. However, there are a few "exclusive communities" around with private roads. They have pedestrian access, but I'm not sure if bikes are an official no-no. (Not been shouted at yet, but perhaps that's because the house owners are all behind their locked gates or away in their island retreats.)

If there's a general rule then great. I've worked on the principal that a footpath with car access = cycling is allowed. Or is it a case-by-case basis? If so, how does one find out?

thirdcrank
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Re: Cycling on Private Roads

Postby thirdcrank » 7 May 2010, 10:03pm

Not one of my particular strongpoints, but I think what you are really talking about is a right of way across land. (The ownership of roads - or at least the land on which they are built, can be quite complicated. Just because a road is "maintained at public expense" does not necessarily mean it is built on publicly owned land.) A right of way may be a footpath, a bridleway or a by-way open to all traffic (BOAT.)

I don't think any developer trying to keep a new road private is going to grant a right of way to anybody if it can be avoided and may well try to extinguish those that exist.

There has been quite a bit of legislation about this recently, again not a strongpoint.

Here's the Surrey Rights of Way Map and it has more info on the subject in general

http://www.surreycc.gov.uk/sccwebsite/s ... endocument

mark a.
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Re: Cycling on Private Roads

Postby mark a. » 8 May 2010, 6:14pm

Thanks TC. The roads in question are nicely surfaced and act as a great cut-through away from the busy roads so it would be great if we can use them on the bikes. I'll check out the Rights of Way maps.

gilesjuk
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Re: Cycling on Private Roads

Postby gilesjuk » 8 May 2010, 8:46pm

It's typically private land and it maintained at the expense of the home owners who live on the road.

I think they are more likely to be annoyed at cars parking on the road than a few cyclists. At the very least you could say you were lost or looking up an address.

Braveheart
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Re: Cycling on Private Roads

Postby Braveheart » 8 May 2010, 9:37pm

We have a lot of these private roads in our part of Sussex too. Always worth consulting an OS map, as many of them have bridleways through them and they are not exactly "private" as they would leave you to believe on thier signage.
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thirdcrank
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Re: Cycling on Private Roads

Postby thirdcrank » 8 May 2010, 10:47pm

Braveheart wrote:We have a lot of these private roads in our part of Sussex too. Always worth consulting an OS map, as many of them have bridleways through them and they are not exactly "private" as they would leave you to believe on thier signage.


The point I was trying to make above is that they are private in the sense of ownership, but the public has right of way in some cases - a bridleway includes on a pedal cycle.

This example on streetview is near where I live but it's a very old example - the railway arch built wide enough to preserve vehicular access is Victorian. That is a private road and the right of way is a footpath only. The highway authority's green signpost is the official sign sign where a footpath leaves a public highway. The large rectangular sign next to the footpath sign (which is not as clear as I had hoped) is the owner's sign telling people to keep out.

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en-GB& ... .22,,1,5.7

Although highway authorities have a legal duty to sign footpaths where they meet a highway, that appears not to be the case in respect of bridleways.

sirmy
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Re: Cycling on Private Roads

Postby sirmy » 9 May 2010, 10:03am

You should have a word with your PROW officer at the council unless the lower part of that makes it expressly clear that it refers only to the classes of users that aren't allowed on footpaths. The positioning of a sign with the words keep out so prominently could, and should, be classed as an obstruction.

With private roads I'd say it's best to treat them as if they were the drive to someone's house and only use them if you've checked the definitive map and know for certain that any rights shown still exist (it's possible rights have been extinguished but the map not updated). Many developers leave road unadopted to avoid them being used by the wider public and provide privacy for residents (nothing at all to do with the roads being much cheaper if they're not to adoptable standards)

mw3230
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Re: Cycling on Private Roads

Postby mw3230 » 9 May 2010, 11:23am

On a related note, have you seen the signs that people place at the entrance to their driveways which state "No Turning". What is that about. Have they been so pestered by cars reversing into their drive that they've had to take action. Seems a little churlish .... cycling on private roads is a little different of course but in the absence of any right of way I think a polite request may help (although I guess there's usually nobody about to ask). The OP hinted at the fact that landowners wanted to remain private and as they own the land, maintain the road/path perhaps they have the prerogative to determine the use.

Am I right in thinking that in Scotland the issue would not arise as there they have free access to everywhere?
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gilesjuk
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Re: Cycling on Private Roads

Postby gilesjuk » 9 May 2010, 12:12pm

Depends. They don't own the pavement but if someone backs onto their actual driveway then I think they are within their rights to say "stay off my land".

A van driver may turn around and knock your wall over. The Royal Mail did that to our wall once.

mark a.
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Re: Cycling on Private Roads

Postby mark a. » 9 May 2010, 7:33pm

Thanks all. I'll assume, then, that cycling is not allowed unless explicitly stated, either as a bridleway sign or through the Rights of Way Officer.

I was kind of wondering whether a footpath that gets gets turned into a (private) road automatically becomes a bridleway, but I guess this was wishful thinking.

thirdcrank
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Re: Cycling on Private Roads

Postby thirdcrank » 9 May 2010, 8:19pm

I think this is a rather vague area in that the status of rights of way was established by use over time. It became a bit more important with increased mobility and leisure. I think one principle (which applies to more than just rights of way) is that if you give somebody permission to do something, you can withdraw that permission. If you simply ignore what they are doing, then after a while they acquire a right to carry on doing it and cannot easily be stopped. (There have been legal procedures and twiddly bits, like putting up signs that no R-O-W is being created, closing a path once a year etc. I don't really know anything about them.) By the same token, if a right is not excercised over a period, then it may be extinguished. Big developers, big landowners etc., are more likely to have the expert legal advice on how to protect their rights and the £££ to take action if necessary.

Organisations like the Ramblers have legal departments dealing with this type of thing.

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squeaker
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Re: Cycling on Private Roads

Postby squeaker » 10 May 2010, 11:16am

thirdcrank wrote:There have been legal procedures and twiddly bits, like putting up signs that no R-O-W is being created, closing a path once a year etc.
Quite: a local example being Wiston estate, who used to lock a gate for one day of the year on an estate road which provided a quiet cycling detour avoiding a twisty, narrow, uphill section of the A283. Now it's set up with a key code pad and locked all the time :evil:
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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Cycling on Private Roads

Postby [XAP]Bob » 10 May 2010, 12:10pm

squeaker wrote:
thirdcrank wrote:There have been legal procedures and twiddly bits, like putting up signs that no R-O-W is being created, closing a path once a year etc.
Quite: a local example being Wiston estate, who used to lock a gate for one day of the year on an estate road which provided a quiet cycling detour avoiding a twisty, narrow, uphill section of the A283. Now it's set up with a key code pad and locked all the time :evil:


How long would it take to go through all the codes?
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
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squeaker
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Re: Cycling on Private Roads

Postby squeaker » 10 May 2010, 12:38pm

[XAP]Bob wrote:How long would it take to go through all the codes?
Long enough for a jobsworth to appear and advise you to bog off, I suspect :shock:
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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Cycling on Private Roads

Postby [XAP]Bob » 10 May 2010, 1:26pm

squeaker wrote:
[XAP]Bob wrote:How long would it take to go through all the codes?
Long enough for a jobsworth to appear and advise you to bog off, I suspect :shock:

Then return tomorrow and start where you left off :twisted:
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.